|Repression extraordinarily high in Saudi Arabia: HRW||
Saudi Arabia's rights record came under fire at the United Nations on Monday, with critics accusing the kingdom of jailing activists without due process and abusing the basic rights of women and foreign workers, Reuters reported.
"Many countries have problematic records, but Saudi Arabia stands out for its extraordinarily high levels of repression and its failure to carry out its promises to the Human Rights Council," Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement to the UN Human Rights Council.
At the meeting, Britain called for abolition of the Saudi system of male guardianship for women and was joined by the United States in raising cases of forced labor imposed on migrant workers.
The U.S. delegation also voiced concern at Saudi restrictions on freedoms of religion and of association, while Germany called for a moratorium on its use of the death penalty.
This year alone the Saudi dictatorship has beheaded at least 69 people.
Britain said more women should be placed in positions of authority and the Saudi government should end the guardianship system.
The rules restrict women's legal rights in marriage, divorce, child custody, inheritance, property ownership and decision-making in the family, as well as choice of residency, education and jobs, UN experts have said previously.
Amnesty censures Saudi Arabia over rights violation
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has censured Saudi Arabia for not addressing the “dire human rights situation” in the kingdom.
Amnesty published a report saying a paper was submitted to the United Nation detailing “an ongoing crackdown including arbitrary arrests and detention, unfair trials, torture, and other ill-treatment over the past four years.”
According to Al-Alam, the submission includes a “new wave of repression against civil society, which has taken place over the last two years.”
Philip Luther, the director of Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International said the Saudi government’s “previous promises to the UN have been proven to be nothing but hot air. It relies on its political and economic clout to deter the international community from criticizing its dire human rights record.”
Luther noted that Riyadh has not abided by the main recommendations mentioned in the 2009 review of the UN Human Rights Council - known as the Universal Periodic Review.
“Four years ago, Saudi Arabian diplomats came to Geneva and accepted a string of recommendations to improve human rights in the country. Since then, not only have the authorities failed to act, but they have ratcheted up the repression,” Luther said.
“For all the peaceful activists that have been arbitrary detained, tortured or imprisoned in Saudi Arabia… the international community has a duty to hold the authorities to account,” Luther added.
Anti-government protests have intensified since November 2011, when security forces opened fire on protestors in Eastern Province’s Qatif, killing five people and leaving scores more injured.
Activists say there are around 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
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